We’ve told you a bit about our work to strike poorly-crafted, harmful Obama-era regulations from the books. Last week, we focused on repealing harmful energy regulations. This week, we’re focused on reversing regulations harmful to our nation’s schools.
Both in principle and in practice, we believe that education is most successful when states, local leaders, and hey, this may be a crazy thought—moms and dads—have decision-making power over education in their own communities. These are the people, not bureaucrats in Washington, who know the needs of their kids and understand how to best tailor curriculums and tests to those needs.
That’s why Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in December 2015. This bipartisan law replaced the one-size-fits-all approach created by No Child Left Behind, and empowers leaders at the state and local level to develop and implement accountability systems that work for their own students, teachers, and schools.
Unfortunately, eager to impose its top-down approach, the Obama administration used ESSA to push forward the “Accountability and State Plan Regulation.” This rule would give the Education Department Education immense power over accountability programs and severely constrain states’ flexibility to create unique plans—which goes against the entire purpose of the ESSA.
Let’s reiterate: It’s incredibly important for a thriving education system to have states and local communities making the decisions about what is working and what is not within their own schools. Another rule which flies in the face of this principle is the “Teacher Preparation Regulation.” It may have good motives (what regulation doesn’t?) but this Obama regulation ties states’ hands once again in measuring how states are faring with their teachers, by holding teacher evaluations to a de facto federal standard.
These two regulations constitute a serious expansion of federal authority with regard to the education system. States and local communities need the flexibility to be able to innovate. These rules crush the spirit of federalism that strengthens schools and helps kids across the country. That’s why we’re repealing them today.